Dave Lawrence
E-mail: newtonpoetry at gmail dot com
Learn more about Dave at his about.me page.

Last Year's Model

MessagePad Jabberwocky. The stylus less traveled. PDA unbound.

This is Newton Poetry, a blog of Newton history, tips, and hacks, along with a few classical poems filtered through an Apple MessagePad 110 – the second in a series of Apple’s digital assistant, running the Newton software.

Newton Poetry also covers Apple and Mac history, news, and projects on classic Mac hardware.

What is a Newton?
Apple’s MessagePad was the first PDA, a small book-sized digital organizer that collections notes, contacts, documents, and more. Think of a brick-size Palm Treo or Blackberry, except without a QWERTY keyboard built in. Everything on the MessagePad is controlled by its dongle. “Newton” is actually the operating system (OS) that governs the MessagePad (like Mac OS on Apples, or Windows on PCs). In the popular lexicon, however, “Newton” is used interchangeably with the MessagePad and the OS that runs it. Here’s a good Wikipedia article on the MessagePad.

Why do I have a Newton?
I first learned about Newtons when I started collecting Macs a few years ago. I surfed around on eBay until I found a MessagePad 110 that fit my price range (cheap). The more advanced Newtons, the 2×00-series, costs more. Eventually, I settled on an affordable Newton eMate 300 to test out OS 2.1 apps and projects. I intended to use the Newton as a PDA: to keep my contacts and calendar and to-do list and carry it with me. The Newton requires older Macs to govern it, however, and so any sort of data entry is impractical. These days I mainly use my iPhone 3G for data management. But for now, my MessagePad 110 and eMate 300 are the stars of this show.

What inspired this blog?
This comic (click to see it):

Egg freckles?  The origins of “Newton Poetry.”

I took part of the name from Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” poem, which is half gibberish and contains words Carroll made up.

The rest of Newton Poetry is simply a love letter to the Newton community – a great group of people that are passionate about this abandoned gadget. Day after day, people from all over the world are using their Newtons to manage their calendar and contacts and to-do lists, despite the fact that Apple discontinued support for the Newton in 1998. Now that’s dedication.

How to reach me
Leave a comment – that’s the easiest way. The other way is to e-mail me at:

newtonpoetry [at] gmail [dot] com

I’d love to hear from MessagePad users out there. Thanks!

– Dave


  1. Nice page. I believe the Messagepad 100 was the first Newton to be up and running, commercially available to the public.

  2. :)

  3. Great idea! It’s good to see websites still covering the Newton. As a Mac collector you might be interested in our podcast that covers Macs and Apple history — we talk about the Newton from time to time too!

  4. I hate to let it go but my wife is making me get rid of some stuff in the old storage unit. I was hoping to eventually donate to some tech museum but it looks like you folks would appreciate the unit I’ve been saving since the late 80’s. I have it listed on my website at yipiti.com, under PDAs.



  5. […] Any suggestions, drop me an e-mail. […]

  6. Great site!

  7. I remember walking into Good Guys back in about ’93 and seeing this large display showcasing a MP100 on a stand so customers could play with it. At the time, I thought it was way beyond my price range.

    But later I bought a 110, then a 120, then a 130 and then a 2000 and an eMate. I loved the 2000 and loved the design and integrated keyboard in the eMate. I sold them off because I moved on to a smaller Palm based thing.

    But recently, I’ve needed to organize myself and focus on tasks and projects, etc. so to implement a Getting Things Done system of organizing things, I’ve thought the Newton OS, especially 2.1 would work great! Plus, it will keep me focused rather than a bunch of colorful icons and distractions on an iPhone/iPad/Mac.

    Anyway, great blog! Keep the Newts alive!

  8. Welcome back, Newtonizer!

Post a comment.